Don’t expect better from people who know no better

Published: February 3, 2013 at 1:54pm

In The Times today:

The Prime Minister has stood by his decision to nominate George Abela, former PL deputy leader, as President, but he admitted to being uncomfortable at how Dr Abela’s son recently addressed a PL mass meeting.

Dr Abela’s appointment was an attempt to break a mould, Lawrence Gonzi told The Sunday Times.

He praised President Abela for his service, but expressed his displeasure at the way Robert Abela criticised him in such an “embarrassing” way during the mass meeting.

“Seeing that Dr Abela’s appointment was an exceptional, unique move, I would have expected prudence,” Dr Gonzi said.

“This was not the President we’ve had in the past; this was a breath of fresh air. It was possibly the biggest step forward, which in my opinion, should have received more respect from the President’s own son.”

I say it time and time again: don’t expect better from people who vote Labour. By definition, somebody who supported Mintoff, KMB and Sant can’t be that decent, no matter the benign aura about him or her.

If you are intelligent and vote Labour, as in the case of Abelas, then it’s an even worse reflection on your character because dull-witted and gullible people can be excused on the ‘they know no better’ factor.

But when you have the intelligence to see Labour for what it is, then and now, and still throw your weight behind it, then what you’ve made her is a moral choice, and it reflects badly on your moral standards. You have the intelligence to see that something is bad, wrong, unfit for purpose, carries within the high risk of causing untold damage to the country, is based on ill-conceived principles, and still you support it because it pays you to do so.

Yes, George Abela fell out with Sant, but let’s not forget he supported Mintoff and KMB, who were immeasurably worse. Yes, George Abela came round to supporting EU membership in the last stretch before the referendum vote in 2003, but let’s not forget that if he hadn’t fallen out with Sant he would have carried on with his commitment to the anti-EU bandwagon.

George Abela, before he became president, defended Judge Farrugia Sacco before the Commission for the Administration of Justice, when he first came before it over a controversial position he held.

Consuelo Herrera was made a magistrate by the Sant administration on George Abela’s recommendation. The Herreras and the Abelas remain excellent friends.

Nobody should expect better from either George Abela or his son Robert, and certainly not from his daughter-in-law Lydia. What you see is exactly what you get. George Abela raised his son Robert. Everybody who has been given a proper upbringing – and I really am not talking social background here – will know why Robert Abela’s behaviour is entirely unacceptable and utterly churlish. You don’t have to be tal-pepe to be a gentleman; there is absolutely no excuse for Robert Abela’s ghastly behaviour and absolutely no explanation for his father’s failure to rein him in – he is, after all, the president of the republic – other than that he sees nothing wrong in it.

Which figures. He is, after all, his father and the one who brought him up to behave like a knave.

Robert and Lydia Abela (CENTRE BACKGROUND) with the Super One crowd at Magistrate Consuelo Herrera’s birthday party

Lydia Abela, the president’s daughter-in-law and a senior Labour Party official, in an affectionate embrace with Magistrate Herrera.

Robert and Lydia Abela (RIGHT OF PIC) with Magistrate Herrera (left) and with her brother Jose Herrera’s canvasser, Doreen Minn Qiegh Il-Belt.

Lydia Abela (far right) with Magistrate Herrera, Robert Musumeci and friends

34 Comments Comment

  1. cikku says:

    Who are the two 40-year-olds dressed like 20-year-olds?

  2. A.Attard says:

    Electoral commision 1987

  3. canon says:

    Another lie from Joseph Muscat regarding Anglu Farrugia. Certainly it is not a white one.

  4. bob-a-job says:

    If I recall well, George Abela did not fall out with Sant on principal but only because he did not agree with Sant’s decision to make the Cottonera Waterfront project an item on which a vote of confidence in Parliament was required.

    He left after making his speech against Sant’s proposal during the Labour Extraordinary Conference.

    In poor man’s words – George Abela wanted to hang on to power at any cost knowing fully well that Sant’s idea risked failure in Parliament or in the resultant elections.

  5. Maria says:

    My thoughts exactly. George Abela was in the Labour Party when the ‘marmalja’ ransacked Eddie Fenech Adammi’s house and terrorised his family, was there when the ‘marmalja’ ransacked the Curia, was there when our schools just because these schools belonged to the church were closed down; was there when Raymond Caruana was murdered.

    Ad now he will be so happy to see his beloved MLP become, heaven forbid, Malta’s government. He will swear the minsters in – and will be so happy about it.

    Just the idea makes me sick.

  6. Gahan says:

    George Farrugia is represented by Dr Franco Debono, he’s asking for a presidential pardon in return for giving evidence against others.

    [Daphne – Scum working for scum. So on the one hand Franco Debono rails against corruption, and on the other hand he defends the corrupt. No wonder he thinks Italy is his spiritual home.]

    • TV Marlene says:

      ah, so on one hand Frankie Tabone was attacking the Prime Minister on the W&E bills and on the other he was (and still is) defending one who has allegedly been heavily involved in the procurement of fuels.

      Lawrence Gonzi did so well to steer the ship right till the very end without succumbing to Frankie’s threats and then to call him ‘Irrelevanti’ the moment Parliament was dissolved after a full 5-year legislature.

  7. Paul Bonnici says:

    I fully agree with you Daphne. Why is the PM playing the victim’s game? Labour have always been nasty and will always remain so.

    The PM should have said nothing about the speech made by Robert Abela. The PM should be thick-skinned enough to take any cr*p from the LP. The PM should know that if you can’t stand the heat…….

    The PM gave more publicity to the ungrateful Abelas.

    [Daphne – You misunderstand me. I do not think the PM is playing the victim, and I believe he is right to flag up the Abelas’ horrendous behaviour.]

  8. matthew says:

    “absolutely no explanation for his father’s failure to rein him in” – utterly ridiculous, robert is a grown man, for all we know his father may disagree with him. robert is responsible for his comments, and blame should not be laid on his father.

    [Daphne – You are completely wrong. Whether Robert Abela is 16 or 46, if his father is president of the republic and his behaviour is embarrassing him in that position, it is his father’s right and duty to ask him to stop it, and to make sure that he does. If his father were not president of the republic, it would be different, and irrelevant.]

    • just me says:

      And men become the adults they become mostly thanks to their upbringing.

    • matthew says:

      i may be completely wrong in your opinion, but in my opinion his father can do no more than ask him to stop it – I am sure he cannot “force” him to do so. that said, I agree that robert should not talk in a way that embarrasses the post occupied by his father.

      [Daphne – You’re wrong. His father can say ‘If you don’t stop that, I shall have to resign. And if you don’t stop insulting the man who put me in this privileged position and made it possible for you to have the run of Verdala Castle and San Anton Palace with your babies and your plaques, then I SHALL resign.’ But we’re talking about two ill-bred people here, so they just won’t get it. I’ve revised my opinion of George Abela dramatically since he became president. This sort of behaviour is appalling.]

  9. matthew says:

    i don’t understand why lydia abela is targeted in this way. from what i know of her she is a soft spoken person, absolutely not arrogant, polite and and well mannered. whilst i disagree with the name plaque thing – although they don’t seem to be the first people to do it, there is no need to demonise her.

    [Daphne – The soft-spoken ones are the worst and the most calculating. The soft-spokenness is part of that. It’s designed to make men think they are harmless. Women know better. Know this: the more babyish the voice, the more scheming the mind.]

    • P Shaw says:

      Evarist Bartolo is one of the most ‘civil’ and soft-spoken persons, but behind your back he can be the worst snake ever.

    • matthew says:

      my (“non-political”) experience of lydia is that she is a nice person, and that is not only based on her voice.

      [Daphne – Well, we’re talking politics here, darling. Nobody really cares about the rest because it isn’t relevant.]

  10. Tabatha White says:

    These matters need to picked apart and the whys and wherefores clarified, every single time – unfortunately.

    Otherwise, since they have no beginning of understanding of protocol and policy nor, by the looks of it, of vision towards political unity, they will never understand why such things are just not on and take it as a personal attack.

    Well done Prime Minister. Well done Daphne. Fair and direct does it better any day.

  11. Frankie's Barrage says:

    I am always mystified how people like George Abela can support Labour when they can clearly work out how wrong they were and still are on so many issues, and the poor quality of the people that militate in it.

    I cannot believe it is just self-interest or simply following family “tradition”. They must believe that they can bring change to the better by working within the party. Any insights?

    [Daphne – It’s easy to get to the top in the Labour Party because there’s less competition, that’s all. Hence, Joseph Muscat.]

    • P Shaw says:

      Once I had a long discussion with a University fellow student in this regard around 1992. He was a supporter of AD on campus, but calculated that it would be easier for him to run on the MLP ticket exactly for the same reason. Karmenu Vella and Sandro Schembri Adami did the same.

    • Harry Purdie says:

      Daphne, that is the most cogent comment I have read in all my more than 20 years on the island. Says it all. Nuff said.

    • Tabatha White says:

      Next question to ask is whether Joseph exploited the young Abela’s position precisely to be able to position/ manoeuvre George Abela out once and for all.

      Those around him should be asking him who he already made a pact with for President and what he has already been given in return.

      How many others besides Anglu aren’t in the know, and who exactly is directing Joseph in authoring his mille foglie of lies, deceit and heads on the block?

      I wouldn’t put Jason in number one position here.

      Besides those already rubbished, I would have a good look – and talk with – at on the one hand at those within Labour’s several folds who steered clear of Joseph in the past and also those who weren’t to be found when decision time was at hand, and ask more pointed questions.

      On the other hand I would have an even better look at those non-forefront behind-the-scenes advisors who Joseph befriended in the past, on Mintoff’s instructions, and has reapproached on a one-to-one basis since 2009.

      Those who have been on the sidelines since modern time immemorial.

      Just as with the untenable situation brought about by Franco and Co’s dance for attention, The Prime Minister has once again shown long-term vision in his affirmation, at this moment in time, standing by his decision to nominate George Abela for President and thereby opt for unity.

      That, was no lenient decision but again a responsible one.

      But it is one that Joseph has decided he could ‘play’ with, with little thought as to the havoc wrecked to the personal and public lives of those involved. I believe we have another of Joseph’s heads on the block.

      And these are the guys on his side.

  12. bob-a-job says:

    Could this be the real reason why Cyrus Engerer was not allowed to contest the present election under the Labour banner?

  13. DD says:


    what is your email address?

    [Daphne – [email protected]]

  14. Tabatha White says:

    Reading through the pit of ignorance in the Times comments under this piece you are referring to Daphne, the depth of it becomes ever more relevant.

    I think there needs to be a new (news)paper/ newsletter etc that explains issues listing the aspects that come into political behaviour and decisions. A sort of case study. Otherwise this divide is going to get bigger.

    I would hate to think that George Abela exploited this ignorance too (same as Joseph does) – simply because, as President of the Republic, he is expected to rise above such issues of partisan politics.

    His family, once they decide to avail themselves of the comforts that this brings, also have a duty of proper comportment in their public and private lives – similar to that of Royal Families.

    We have had no statement of son and daughter in law distancing themselves from the father BEFORE utterance of such comments, etc.

    However we have a public statement in the form of the baptism plaques translating loud and clear to anyone and everyone: We woz ‘ere.

    Just as the LP electoral campaign material filmed at Verdala Castle does.

    The son and in-law cannot now say that they are separate from the father in this issue since their lot was already thrown in with his, and his with theirs.

    They cannot now try to disassociate themselves from the father, and him from them. It is too late.

    You can’t have it all ways.

    It’s comportment, not opinion, that is under the lens here.

    It appears that knowledge of such protocol is seriously lacking and seriously not considered.

    But watch Joseph try to garner and harness voters now by directing it as a personal attack (against GA and family) not one of form, putting fear into his supporters that even the President is being targeted etc etc etc.

    Gold star Daphne for exposing the stunt.

  15. Bingo says:

    Great article on the Indi today Daphne but it seems that little Jimmy below qiehed ihallat il-hass mar-rieha ta kabocci. What a prat.

    James Alexander Tyrrell says:
    03 February 2013 13:49
    I got as far as, “The most salient point was that the Labour leader thinks the electorate is stupid.”

    Isn’t that exactly what Gonzi thinks?

    And don’t forget that he once stated he had to look overseas for people to fill certain position because he couldn’t find intelligent enough Maltese people for the job.

    • Ghoxrin Punt says:

      Gonzi never said intelligent. He said experienced. And with only one airline in Malta, it is a logical conclusion that one can only find an experienced CEO outside of Malta. All other top managers are Maltese.

      Trust Tyrrell to say something so stupid and to mix up experience with intelligence. Though, coming to think of it, if he uses his leader as his yardstick, we might have to forgive him the confusion.

  16. TROY says:

    Mhux hekk – let the scorpion hitch a ride on your back to cross the river, on the promise that he won’t sting you.

    Instinct, just pure Labour instinct.

  17. Steve Forster says:

    Leaders are expected to show an example and also to instruct their offspring to show a level of decorum which is obviously lacking in this family.

    If the PN wins I would first go to wherever that certain plaque is placed glorifying a baptism and have it removed post-haste.

  18. canon says:

    The Labour Party purposely used the President’s son to attack Lawrence Gonzi. This was a sign that Labour didn’t appreciate Gonzi’s move about George Abela.

  19. Paul Bonnici says:

    Reconciliation is here to haunt us!

  20. George says:

    Whoever supported Mintoff and KMB during the seventies and eithies cannot be trusted.

    What both of them did to the Maltese and Gozitans during their premiership cannot even be forgotten let alone forgiven.

    Those who supported their actions at those times are accomplices of the worst political corrupt practices ever experienced in the political history of the Maltese nation.

  21. P Shaw says:

    I am convinced that Robert Abela addressed the MLP mass meeting with the blessing of his father. No doubt about that.

    I also do not believe that Gorg ABela had any Damascus conversion about EU membership. He worked against EU membership in 1996 and was Sant’s advisor when the latter froze the EU application. His political beleifs are anti-European. He appeared to be in favour of the EU, but he was not – he was simply anti-Sant.

    I still believe that his appointment was Gonzi’s biggest mistake. He gave credibility to a politician that did not warrant it. His shhepish image is just pure PR, like his trip to Peru.

    In the early nineties, before his departure from Malta, the national team’s former coach Horst Hesse, had strong words on Gorg Abela (then MFA president)and on his style of leadership / management, which was alien to a European coach. This interview was carried in a newspaper (I believe it was Alternattiva or TMIS).

  22. Francis Saliba MD says:

    Some intelligent and honest people have joined/assisted the MLP/LP in the forlorn hope that they could perhaps be a moderating influence on its oppressive, dictatorial and violent leaders.

    I knew several of them well. Sooner or later they had to abandon their impossible dream as a hopeless mission impossible.

    Some persist to this very day but it doesn’t say much for their intelligence and their ability to learn anything from the bitter lesson of our history.

  23. carlos says:

    If i still remember well George Abela was one of the electoral commissioners who draw up the electoral bounderies for the 1981 elections which resulted in a perverse result. Perhaps Gonzi forgot this when he nominated George Abela for President.

  24. fm says:

    So Jose Herrera will be our country’s next justice minister should Labour win the election.

    He’ll have to miss some dirty parties. We have ministers who hardly have time to have dinner with their families let alone dance the night away.

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